Journal Article

Aphanomyces invadans and Ulcerative Mycosis in Estuarine and Freshwater Fish in Florida

In the spring of 1998, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute received numerous reports of lesioned or ulcerated fish primarily from the St. Lucie Estuary on the southeast coast of Florida, an area known since the late 1970s for lesions of the ulcerative mycosis (UM) type. From these and archived reports, as well as others received from different areas of Florida, we documented that diseased specimens had randomly distributed skin ulcers (usually reddened or hemorrhagic) with raised irregular margins and, in some cases, deeply penetrating hyphae in the surrounding muscle tissue. Since 1998, 256 fish (comprising 18 species) with ulcerative lesions (from 15 different locations) were confirmed with hyphae in fresh squash preparation or by histological evaluation. Squash preparations revealed nonseptate, sparsely branching, thick-walled hyphae; histological sections revealed mycotic granulomas in the dermis that occasionally penetrated into the skeletal muscle. These pathological characteristics were consistent with UM caused by the oomycete Aphanomyces invadans in Southeast Asia, Japan, Australia, and the United States. For specific identification, six isolates from ulcerated fish were cultured and prepared for molecular characterization using established diagnostic methods. Ribosomal RNA gene sequence analysis identified three isolates as Aphanomyces invadans, one as the oomycete Achlya bisexualis, and two as the ascomycete Phialemonium dimorphosporum. A more extensive survey of 67 ulcerated skin samples from fish collected between 1998 and 2003 was performed using a polymerase chain reaction assay specific for Aphanomyces invadans. Of these, 26 (38.8%) samples from seven fish species and nine collection locations were positive. Confirmation of UM associated with Aphanomyces invadans represents new host records in Florida for the sheepshead Archosargus probatocephalus, striped mullet Mugil cephalus, white mullet Mugil curema, silver perch Bairdiella chrysoura, black drum Pogonias cromis, largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides, and American shad Alosa sapidissima.

Publisher - Taylor and Francis

Subjects - Fungus, Aphanomyces invadans; Ulcerative Mycosis

Citation: Sosa ER, Landsberg JH, Stephenson CM, Forstchen AB, Vandersea MW, Litaker RW. 2007. Aphanomyces invadans and Ulcerative Mycosis in Estuarine and Freshwater Fish in Florida. J. Aquat. Anim. Health; 19(1):14-26